Old Testament Evangelistic Sermons. By D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Introduction by Iain H. Murray. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1995. xxxiii + 268 pp.
Old Testament Evangelistic Sermons may surprise those who know Martyn Lloyd-Jones primarily for his detailed expositions of Romans and Ephesians. Lloyd-Jones became well-known as an expositor during his long tenure as pastor of London’s Westminster Chapel. As biographer Iain Murray points out in the introduction, however, Lloyd-Jones thought of himself primarily as an evangelist. Indeed, Murray claims that at least half of Lloyd-Jones’ sermons were evangelistic.
Lloyd-Jones knew that some people questioned whether to preach evangelistically from the Old Testament, so he regularly addressed the issue in these sermons. He insisted that the indispensable, but often-neglected basis of all sound evangelism is bringing people to an understanding of their status as sinners. Until they grasp the utter helplessness of their situation before a holy God, the gospel has little appeal. He believed the Old Testament was intended by God to fulfill just this purpose, so it is natural that he preached often from Old Testament texts in his evangelistic ministry. Lloyd-Jones’ sermons typically offered an extensive diagnosis of human sinfulness and a briefer presentation of God’s grace toward sinners.
This collection includes messages from familiar Old Testament stories but it also contains powerful sermons from lesser-known texts. For example, few congregations are likely to have heard recently about the inhabitants of Laish (Judges 18), but many will recognize the temptation to withdraw to a carefree, self-centered, comfortable life that excludes God. “Cocooning” may be the recent term for it, but the attitude is ancient.
Those looking for emotional death-bed stories will not find them here; Lloyd-Jones rejected appeals of that sort. But for penetrating description of sin’s nature and effects, these sermons are valuable. They also serve as reminders that both evangelism and edification are part of balanced pulpit ministry.